Skills will only increase with employer supportOn 29 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today The decision to axe the National Training Organisations and replace themwith larger Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) was taken because only a handful hadproved effective, according to the Adult Skills Minister. John Healey told Personnel Today the system had failed in tackling the UK’sskills shortages because only a small proportion of employers were actuallyaware the 72-strong NTO network existed. “You have to look at the skills gap then look at the performance of theNTOs overall. Only 8 per cent of employers had even heard of them. They weretoo small and didn’t have enough influence,” he said. In March the NTOs will officially make way for the first five Sector SkillsCouncils, which will cover the retail, audio-visual broadcasting, land-basedindustries, clothing and textiles and the petrochemical sectors. Healey stressed that in the future all industries will have the opportunityto benefit from a skills council. He said: “Eventually, where there is an industry that doesn’t have aSSC, it will be the job of the Sector Skills Development Agency to help get aframework in place. “The importance of sectors has changed and, increasingly in Government,we are concerned about local labour market issues, specifically withproductivity problems. “Sectors are more important to Government than ever and there’s a muchgreater emphasis on skills. Employer surveys are telling us that skills are thekey issue.” The new streamlined system is designed to reduce the skills gap and increaseworkforce development. Healey is confident the first five SSCs will set aprecedent for other industries. “We’re looking for the first five trailblazers to set an example toother sectors. The trailblazers were picked because they had leadership – thesector’s employers had demonstrated their potential,” he said. “The five given the go-ahead were successful from 31 expressions ofinterest. We could have appointed more but we felt only five had the kind ofsupport we were looking for, and could set an example. “I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t get the trailblazers up andrunning by April.” The Government is ready to pledge £1m a year to each council, but this willonly happen if there’s enough support from employers. It is employers, stressed Healey, who will be the driving force behind theskills councils. “We’re not setting up some quasi-public body. Employers are the bestpeople to decide the needs of each sector.” Healey has high hopes that the councils will become industry voices ontraining and skills. “There is a strong realisation in Government that skills arefundamental to solving some of the productivity problems. It works both ways:staff want new skills in terms of job security and employers want betterproductivity. “We’re looking to make much greater investment and, hopefully, a muchgreater impact on skills and productivity issues in the UK. Through SSCscompanies will be able to influence Government and improve skills.” Healey said other sectors are interested in the schemes and urged employersto look carefully at their training provision in partnership. “We’re working closely with the five trailblazers and other sectorsinterested in setting up SSCs. We’ve got business advisers helping them decidewhether they have a viable future bid or not.” www.dfes.gov.ukBy Ross Wigham Sector Skills Councils: the goals– Reduce skills gaps and shortages and increase the speed ofdevelopment and transition by sectors– Develop specific actions that lead to improved productivity,business and public services performance– Take action leading to the development of everyone on thesector’s workforce– Influence action that leads to improvement in learning How the goals will be achieved– Identify skills and productivity priorities and the actionneeded to tackle them– Agree with employers, Government and relevant public agenciesover the way this action will be taken – Lead action and monitor progress in meeting priorities– Ensure the development of occupational standards,apprenticeship frameworks and training provision Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.